Love to eat out? Center for Science in the Public Interest has released its picks for this year’s “Xtreme Eating” Awards in its Nutrition Action Newsletter, and I think just reading the way they were described made me want to go home and have a salad.
"If this year’s winners of the Xtreme Eating Awards are any indication, the overfeeding of America seems likely to continue unabated at the nation’s chain restaurants,” the organization said in a July 19 news release .
Here are five of the “dishonorees”:
— Denny’s Fried Cheese Melt: Four fried mozzarella sticks and melted American cheese grilled between two slices of sourdough bread. With a side of French fries and marinara sauce, this meal adds up to 1,260 calories, 21 grams of saturated fat and 3,010 mg of sodium. It’s like eating two Pizza Hut Personal Pan Pepperoni Pizzas, CSPI, suggests.
— The Cheesecake Factory Farmhouse Cheeseburger: A burger topped with grilled smoked pork belly cheddar cheese, onions, lettuce, tomato, mayo and a fried egg: 1,530 calories, 36 grams of saturated fat and 3,210 milligrams of sodium.
“That’s assuming you just eat the burger, cays a CSPI news release: “French fries bring an additional 460 calories and 1,460 mg of sodium. Eating this would be the equivalent of eating three McDonald’s Quarter Pounders with cheese. Add another Quarter Pounder with cheese if you eat the side order of fries.”
— Cold Stone Creamery PB&C Shake: 24-oz. “Gotta Have It” size shake of peanut butter, chocolate ice cream and milk has 2,010 calories and 68 grams of saturated fat.
— Applebee’s Provolone-Stuffed Meatballs With Fettuccine: Along with a piece of garlic bread, the four cups of pasta, two sauces, and cheese-injected meatballs add up to 1,520 calories, 43 grams of saturated fat and 3,700 mg of sodium.
– The Cheesecake Factory Ultimate Red Velvet Cake Cheesecake: “Why stop at a slice of red velvet cake when you can top it with a layer of cheesecake, top that with another layer of red velvet cake, and top that with another layer of cheesecake? And then top that with cream cheese frosting, chocolate shavings, and a small silo of whipped cream?” says a CSPI news release. “Weighing in at three-quarters of a pound, this dessert packs 1,540 calories and 59 grams of saturated fat (three days’ worth).”
“If Americans are feeling a little more full when lumbering out of The Cheesecake Factory, Applebee’s, Denny’s, and other chains, it’s not in their heads,” said CSPI nutrition director Bonnie Liebman. “It’s as if the restaurants were targeting the remaining one out of three Americans who are still normal weight in order to boost their risk of obesity, diabetes, heart attacks, and cancer.”
This is likely to be the last year calorie counts aren’t on the menus, since the Food and Drug Administration is finalizing a set of calorie labeling rules being required as part of health care reform legislation, the organization says.
The Center for Consumer Freedom — a nonprofit coalition supported by restaurants, food companies and consumer — called the awards a “another stunt to chastise the American public for occasionally indulging in life’s simpler pleasures.”
“The notorious self-proclaimed food cops appear to fundamentally disagree with the notion of personal responsibility in choosing what we eat,” J. Justin Wilson, senior research analyst for the organization, said in a new release.